Built by Joseph Maria Olbrich in 1897, the Secession Building is an architectural manifesto of the rebel artistic movement spearheaded by Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann, and Max Kurzweil. Its gilt roof shines brightly on Vienna’s skyline and beckons visitors to discover what waits inside this exhibition space.
Unlike other movements, there is not one style that links the work of all the Vienna Secession artists. Secessionists declared that the aim of their movement was to reunite architecture, painting, sculpture, and music under a common theme in order to break from the segregation of traditional art institutions. Above the entrance of the building, the movement’s credo, “To every age its art, to every art its freedom”, welcomes visitors.
Only one work from the original Artists Association of Austrian Secession held in 1902 is permanently on display in the building. Located at the entry, Klimt’s monumental wall cycle and tribute to the composer Beethoven, Beethoven Frieze, represents the genre-unifying mission of the secession movement. This is considered one of Klimt’s key works, and one of the high points of Viennese Art Nouveau.
As the world’s oldest independent gallery devoted entirely to contemporary art, The Secession continues its legacy with up to 15 exhibitions each year that reflect the developments in Austrian and international art. Recent exhibitions have featured mixed media installations and sculptures from artists including Ulla von Brandenburg, Susi Jurkoff, and Hannes Böck.